Why You Need Startup Mentoring in Australia

A common question we often hear is: “Why do you need Startup Mentoring?”

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” (Donald Rumsfield, 21st USA Secretary or Defense)

Many startup founders tend to believe that hard work, determination and sacrifice are enough to ensure a successful business. However, the reality is as an entrepreneur, you are on a unique journey, in often, unchartered territory, dictated to you, not by what you think, but what the market needs or desires.  So, no matter how hard you work, how many hours you sacrifice or how passionate you are, there are times when you will hit a roadblock, where you simply will not know what to do. At times you will second guess solutions  and times where you will make lots of mistakes as part of your learning and discovery process. There will be times when you seek comfort in those that have already walked the journey.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to talk to, to relate to, someone that has understands your pains and challenged? One that has actually been on a similar journey before you and can help you with the pitfalls and and can ultimately help guide you to your destination.

Whilst hard work and determination can take you far, they are simply no substitute for the knowledge and expertise that comes from someone who has already walked your entrepreneurial path.

So then the answer is clear. The ideal way to move forward, grow and learn as an entrepreneur is by finding a Startup Mentor. Having the right mentor or mentors around you, who can guide you forward, is a critical foundational component of any start up and instrumental in ensuring your start up grows and moves towards long-term sustainability and success.

Startup FMCG Mentoring Australia Why Exactly a Mentor is Needed for Small Businesses 1What exactly is a Startup Mentor?

A mentor is defined as an experienced and trust adviser. A mentor can be referred to as a coach, guide, confidant, counsellor, consultant and more.

In particular, a Start Up Mentor is someone who has already travelled your entrepreneurial path and can share their expertise and knowledge with you – the hindsight, the mistakes, the success and more.

A mentor:

  • Already knows the consequences of your decisions before you make them – because they’ve lived them.
  • Understands your business journey and is here to help you through it.
  • Helps you take a step back and see the big picture, breaking the inevitable cycle of being caught up in the daily rigmarole.
  • Holds you accountable for your actions.
  • Pushes the bar higher, whilst instilling confidence and faith.
  • Shares their value system, which is invaluable in creating a healthy start up.
  • And so much more!

Why do you need Start Up Mentoring?

Now, you can see what a mentor is, and what they can do. But the question remains, why does your business need Startup Mentoring? Here are our 6 top reasons why! 

Industry Knowledge is Invaluable

A mentor who has experience in the same industry would help you understand the difficulties of doing business and the varied nature of the market and industry you are dealing with. They are able to share their industry insights, its main players (the Big Gorillas), the barriers to entry and how the “game” is played. As mentors they have already mastered and achieved success in the same space as your start up, experienced the highs and lows,  so they are ideally positioned to share their insights in a practical manner.

They’ve Already Walked Your Path

It’s ideal to receive Startup Mentoring from someone who has succeeded in their entrepreneurial journey and lived to tell the tale. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with mentors from large corporate organisations, entrepreneurship is a different beast.  Start up enterprises have different resource constraints and it takes a certain type of character to be an entrepreneur; one that is resourceful and resilient, (among other characteristics).

Furthermore, a “start up is not a company”, but an organisation that is looking to become a company.  It’s not a 9-5 occupation, it’s a role that encompasses your entire being: from your experience, to your mental & physical health to constantly pushing yourself past your comfort zone. So having a mentor who understands this unique journey, and help remove you from your confirmation bias, in other words, helping you gain personal insight to enable to “know, what you don’t know” is invaluable.

Network Effect

One of the biggest challenges most entrepreneurs face is a lack of professional contacts. Therefore a mentor with strong connections in your industry and within the entrepreneurial ecosystem is invaluable and worth its weight in gold, as will help open many doors. A mentor can leverage their connections, helping you to form strategic alliances, joint ventures, attract potential investors, customers and more.  Sometimes these networks would take years for the entrepreneur to build.

Provide entrepreneurial strategy

A mentor will help you identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to provide you the entrepreneurial strategies, and even fine tune your business model; discovering improved ways of doing business or new revenue sources, to help you grow your business.

Visionary Problem Solver

Two key elements for a start up are finding creative solutions to current problems AND help focus the entrepreneur and keep them aligned to the goals and objectives of the business.  A Startup Mentor will be able to help you find solutions for problems your business may face either via their network, expertise and knowledge – whether it be funding, technology, market access or organisation culture.

An Objective & Honest Reflection

A Startup Mentor will hold a metaphorical mirror up to your venture, objectively assessing the state of your business as it is, as well as the direction in which it is headed. They will identify what’s right or wrong with your business and encourage you to take corrective action. A mentor will help ask you the tough questions to make you really think about how to improve things in your business and continue with your best foot forward.

So how do you find the right Start Up Mentor for you?

It’s important to remember that you can’t force a mentorship – the relationship needs to be genuine and authentic, which is why finding the right mentor for you is sometimes half the battle.

You need to be careful and diligent when choosing a mentor for your start up. One mentor might not have all the elements you are looking for. You may need two or three mentors with different areas of expertise guiding you.

But where do you find a Startup Mentor? Perhaps through your old work networks or friends? Or maybe you want to try connect via social media to someone you’ve long admired professionally from afar.

Or perhaps you can ask us. At Startup Mentoring we have a supportive team of mentors who have the expertise, knowledge and ability to help you along your entrepreneurial path. Our team has happily lived to tell the tale and are here to help you.

Startup FMCG offers Startup, FMCG and small business mentoring as part of our service. If you’d like to know more or meet the founder, Anthony Harb, fill in our contact form. He is a specialist mentor in Fast Moving Consumer Goods with 30 years experience and multiple product launches with products achieving more than $100 million turnover .